IQ vs EQ in medicine

Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash

An effective doctor should ideally possess high IQ ( roughly understood as intelligence) and high EQ (emotional / empathy quotient) — in the top right quadrant of the graph. We certainly don’t want someone in the bottom left (low IQ and low EQ). Our uniaxial selection system (exams) can’t be simultaneously optimized for both the axes because one of them (EQ) is even harder to measure than IQ. The exams give a low resolution view of one axis (IQ) but we are literally blind to the other (EQ).

IQ vs EQ in medicine

Perhaps we can assume that people who pass a rigourous entrance / exit exam as we have in India are in the top left quadrant ( admittedly a big assumption). Instead of trying to measure EQ, we might choose to try and “improve” it. The question is can empathy be taught? if not — If a person’s (EQ,IQ) coordinates are fixed, can we at least improve bedside manners? Taking a clue from the west (Europe/UK/US), I think it is possible.

What good is superficial manners without deep empathy?

In our healthcare, any improvement over status quo, however small is worth it.

The goal is to establish minimum acceptable standards, while aiming for more.

Hopefully, we will be able to move at least some people from the top left to top right.



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Physician.Endocrinologist. Jipmerite. Data science enthusiast.